Sunday 19 April 2020

Learn First, Trade Last

Those of you whose interest in trading extends beyond sports to the more traditional financial markets, will be aware that several companies including Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade and E-Trade Financial last year reduced their commission on stocks and ETFs  to zero.

This year there has been some consolidation with a Charles Schwab / TD Ameritrade merger expected to close in the second half of 2020 and an agreement in February whereby Morgan Stanley agreed to acquire E-Trade Financial in a $13 billion deal.

Unsurprisingly the move to zero commission meant a "dramatic increase in transactions" although trading revenue declined.

Interest income is the key driver of Schwab's revenue and is even more vital after online brokers slashed trading commissions to zero.
In Asia, new entrants to the markets are signing up in record numbers:
In India, brokerage Zerodha has already opened a record 140,000 new accounts this month - double the average. 
CommSec, Australia’s largest retail broker, said account openings had increased fourfold in March. Brokers in Manila, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta reported surges as well.
In Korea, retail investors lifted their broker deposits 53% to a record 41 trillion won ($34 billion).
With much of the workforce now 'working' from home, not to mention a substantial number of people now unemployed, it seems likely that there has been an upswing in day-trading from new entrants into the markets. 

One of the blogs I follow is TraderFeed, written by Brett Steenbarger Ph.D. author of several books on trading psychology. The advice offered to these new entrants into the markets in his latest blog post applies to sports traders as well.
But the risk is that these new traders will start out by trading, not by learning markets. Enticed by self-appointed gurus, teachers, and coaches who offer little more than stale chart patterns and technical indicator readings as "edges", this new generation of traders is likely to take risks with their capital well before they have truly understood and mastered the markets and strategies they trade.
It all sounds very familiar. Learning how markets work isn't very exciting, but when trading with real money, be it in sports markets or financial, it always behoves you to consider when starting out that you are competing against others who have a lot more experience than you, have deeper pockets than you, and may well have more information than you. 

There is no shortcut to success, a fact that should be obvious because if this were to be the case, everyone would be doing it. 
If you get a sales pitch promising big trading success without a rigorous learning curve, know that you're being misled. Those making the pitch are selling hope, not trading expertise. The biggest mistake you can make as a new trader is to take short cuts in your learning process.
The markets are certainly interesting these days, and to my eyes are currently over priced given the uncertainty over when economies might get back to some kind of a new normal. 

For me, April is currently the best month ever in both percentage terms and actual gains, and I am less than 7.5% off my all-time high.

The S&P 500 is just 15.3% off its all-time high, although the FTSE 100 is 25.3% off, but as I told you in January 2018, US indexes are a safer bet for your money right now:
In more traditional financial markets, once again the main US benchmark index outperformed the UK's FTSE 100. Only 4 times in the last 24 years has the FTSE prevailed, and the disaster that is Brexit means the US and Overseas markets are where most of my investments will again be in 2018.
Since then, the S&P 500 'won' in both 2018 and 2019, and is currently leading in 2020 which, if it holds, would make a 23-4 record since 1994.
Mark Littlewood, whose erroneous tweets were the subject of my previous post said:
I wondered last night whether you would cherry pick our tweets and write a blog entry. Well sadly you have done that. Why in gods name would you deem our exchange of views on Nourishment and Covid worthy of a winge on your blog I have no idea.
I suspected I might be accused of cherry picking the Tweets in question which is why I put the two incorrect tweets one out there as screenshots. 

Why I felt the exchange worthy of a post is firstly that I don't like misinformation to go uncorrected, and his claims were clearly false.

  • The curve is not flattened by people having a healthy immune system.
  • Undernourishment is not an issue in the 'west'.

But secondly because Mark is someone who claims, albeit with no evidence, to be successful at horse betting. 

When evaluating such unverified claims, credibility is an important consideration, and if someone shows a lack of credibility in one area, that should give one pause.

To be clear, I think that what Mark actually MEANT (and I agree with both of these statements) is that a healthy immune system improves an individual's chances of a successful outcome having become infected, and that a 'western' diet can often have nutritional deficiencies.

Unfortunately that wasn't what he actually WROTE, and when you leave people to interpret your words for themselves, that leads to misunderstandings.

While it would clearly have been better to delete the erroneous tweets and start again when the errors were pointed out, it seems to be human nature not to want to admit you were wrong and attempt to defend the indefensible.  

No comments: